This is my attempt at blogging. I'm still learning about the blogging world, and this is my own personal study hall.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Early Shabbath

In our building there is (or there has been since around Rosh HaShannah) a nightly Minyan for Ma'ariv, as well as a weekly Friday night Minyan. Since the start of daylight savings time, however, it has grown increasingly difficult to keep up the nightly Minyan, and the Friday night Minyan has been going through tremendous debate over whether to hold it early or late, the early time generally being quite a bit after Plag (this week it would be 12 minutes after, if it happens at all). For that reason, I decided to look up the rules to bring in Shabbath early by doing a Google search for "Plag Mincha" (I know I broke my own rule regarding transliterating Hebrew, but it's the way everyone else typically spells the word).

I found this article, which I hope will be useful to others reading my blog:

Have a Shabbath Shalom.


Thursday, May 19, 2005


No, not the way to go!

Come on, Rick Carlisle! Are you kidding me?

As moving as the ovation at the end of the game was, and as much of a Pistons fan as I am, I just did not like the way the game, and with it Reggie’s career, ended.

First was the block. Ben Wallace, whom I love as a Pistons fan, as a former bench-warming, defense-oriented, blocking high school basketball player, ruined what could have been Reggie’s glorious exit. Obviously I wanted Detroit to win. And I think they would have won anyway. But when Reggie comes off the dribble to lob an off-balance three-pointer with under 30 seconds to play and an opposing player reaching for the block, it’s just wrong to actually succeed in blocking that shot. That’s Reggie’s shot. I mean it was his final game. You’ve got to let Reggie have his heroics, even if his team ends up losing.

The final sequence was even more disappointing, because it was more than just Reggie losing in his final bid to win a championship. It was a concession by Coach Carlisle. The Pacers are down 8 with Hamilton at the line for a second free throw. He’ll end up hitting it and putting the Pistons up 9. For most teams, under most circumstances, that’s when you pull your best player off the court and let him rest early. But this is an elimination game in the playoffs. And not only that, you have Reggie Miller on your team. And not only that, it’s Reggie’s final season.

You’re down by 9 with 15.6 seconds to go in an elimination game. Do you give up? No! You push till the buzzer. If you have Reggie Miller on your team and you’re down by 9 with 15.6 seconds to go in ANY game, much less a playoff game, MUCH less an elimination game, do you give up? Heck no! It’s Miller Time! And you’re telling me you’re going to let Reggie retire like that? Come on, Coach! That’s when you prove yourself and you let Reggie prove himself (once again). Down by 9 with 15.6 seconds to go IS Miller Time. You create a play for Reggie to get a 3 and then make a quick foul. You get a quick stop and another quick Reggie trey. One more stop and another Reggie 3-pointer at the buzzer and you go to overtime. You may lose in OT, but Reggie gets his heroics.

I am a HUGE Reggie Miller fan. On numerous occasions I have thought about whether I would be satisfied to witness Reggie get a title at the Pistons’ expense. The ovation was incredibly moving. People were crying and I was on the verge.

But it just wasn’t right.

You know, when Rick Carlisle was fired after two consecutive successful seasons, I was outraged. I was one of the many dumbfounded Pistons fans who just could not understand why you would get rid of the coach who made that difference. Now I understand. He just wasn’t that great a coach. If you can’t even think of an option that could potentially allow Reggie Miller to score 9 points in 15.6 seconds, the man who scored 8 in under 9 seconds, you just aren’t that good of a coach. It’s just about isolation and stops. As a coach, if you’re down by fewer than 10 points in an elimination game in the playoffs, and you have Reggie on the floor, you absolutely do NOT pull Reggie out of the game. The ovation was nice. But what about the game? What about his legacy? The Pistons didn’t win the game, Coach Carlisle gave it to them. The man is all about class, but in this case it was purely style over substance.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Well, I guess it's time I posted a response to the "Dual Loyalties" debate between Isaac and Menachem. And by the way, when did you start going by Menachem? After you left YU, I suppose. (I hope I'm not embarrassing you by publicizing your time there).

Anyway, I'll address the topic at hand. I am actually very interested in this topic and was thinking about it just today. (I hadn't actually read your conversation until a moment ago). I came to a similar conclusion, apparently, to that of Dershowitz. However, I have to qualify that. It is true that I am loyal to both because of the way I perceive them both in being "right" (morally, not politically).

{WOW! That was a great play! (I'm watching the Suns-Mavs game 1. Stoudamire and Marion fast break in the first quarter - check for highlights on the internet).}

The difference between me and Dershowitz is that I am driven not by some Western, democratic ideal of what is "right" but by what Torah Judaism says is "right". I base my politics on that as well. And we can debate Separation Between Church and State another time - that's another one of my favorite topics. But I don't see anything wrong with allowing HaShem to guide my philosophy in life, which would, in turn, affect my political leanings.

I will never allow Eretz Yisrael to fall to anyone else's hands or be corrupted if there is anything I can do to prevent it. But as far as the State of Israel is concerned, I am loyal inasmuch as it is the conduit through which I am able to fulfill {Another WOW from the game - Stoudamire's block, leaping over Nash} what I believe is a Biblical duty to live in Eretz Yisrael (I also heard once, although I have not been able to find the source, that the RaMB"aN states somewhere that you can only fulfill Mitzvoth on the DeOraitha level if you are in Eretz Yisrael) and insasmuch as it is the home of millions of Jews.

But I am loyal to the United States because I know that it is the only nation in the world where I can comfortably wear a Kippah on the street late at night (I know a lot of people don't feel exactly the same way, but I do, and it's the only place that is true, except maybe Australia. Although I'm married to an Australian I have not yet been there, so I don't know for sure.) AND because it is "just" AND because it is my birthplace. If any of those were to cease to be true, my loyalty would likely falter.

But I don't foresee that happening, even in today's seemingly unstable political environment, because the system has proved that it can overcome political instability. It has managed to stabilize itself. People crave stability and normalcy. The environment after Bush was elected in 2000 stabilized because people kept on referring to the man as "President Bush" and it was a fact that could not be denied. And eventually, after a while, the opposition came to realize that the only way to get their way was to go back to working within the system. But I digress. My faith in the system was tested, but it proved itself to me really only this year, and I no longer fear the instability that was threatened.

So, to review, I am loyal to the U.S. and I intend to remain loyal, because I do not believe that any of the factors that make me loyal will cease to exist. I am loyal to the State of Israel and I intend to remain loyal as long as the factors that make me loyal remain true. I believe that the State of Israel's "right"ness or "faithful"ness is slightly less stable than America's. But I will always and ever remain unfailingly loyal to Eretz Yisrael and Kelal Yisrael.

I do not foresee my loyalties to any of the above coming into question or conflicting. If either the State of Israel or the United States of America were to suddenly be at war, that would mean that one of them has deviated from that which makes it worthy of my loyalty. But Eretz Yisrael and Kelal Yisrael cannot do that.

I hope that answered your questions without creating too many more.

Good night.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

BS-a Palooza

Not much new to report. People have been criticizing my few postings. Well, mocking is a more accurate term. The truth is, I guess, I'm just plain boring. I have nothing to post.

Today was a grueling day at work. Not as grueling as yesterday, but still quite exhausting. I won't bore you with all the details, and believe me, it would be pretty boring, but let me just say this - there's a lot of BS that gets flung all around Capitol Hill. I mean, come on - I'm just running an internship program. Where's the politics in that?? Right. So, yesterday I declared myself the Duke of BS. I'm definitely not the King, but I had to fling some around, both yesterday and today, in order to get things done.

Yep, can't wait till I get a full-time job there! (Sarcasm? You decide.)

Monday, May 02, 2005


(Here's hoping Lou Shapp doesn't sue me over the subject line to this post)

Pesah is always fun in my house. And of course, by fun I mean not-so-much. This was actually a pretty tame Pesach by my family's standards.

I'll give you some examples of some of my favorite Pesah incidents:

1. Ninth or tenth grade: Talking on the phone with Snapple about sending in labels or bottle caps for free stuff, I'm sitting on the floor in the family room. I get up, leaning on the glass coffee table, and my hand just goes straight through the glass. Hijinks ensue. (Actually, replace the word 'hijinks' with 'yelling and screaming'.)

2. The following year: The refrigerator breaks down on Bedikah night. Hijinks ensue. (Actually, replace the word 'hijinks' with 'mass-panic and hysteria'.)

3. The following year: The NEW refrigerator breaks down the last day of Hol HaMo'ed. Hijinks ensue. (See above).

4. My year in Israel: I spend Pesah on a Kibbutz. I arrive on Bedikah night, and my first time at the Shul is 'Erev Pesah morning. I get lost on my way to Shul, making me late, which means I finish late, and then again on my way to the Heder Ochel. I miss the Siyyum and end up fasting all day. I break my fast on overly sweet, heavy, syrupy Israeli wine at the Seder. Not fun. Hijinks ensue. (Actually, replace the word 'hijinks' with 'gagging and near passing out'.)

5. My second year at YU: Having been recently dumped, very badly by the way, I am horribly miserable and depressed. Seder is not so fun. To top it off, I meet up with ex during Hol HaMo'ed. And of course there is the 7-11 incident shortly after Yom Tov ends. (Actually, replace the word 'hijinks' with 'stupid babbling and eventual death-threats'. For details ask Shauli [].)

6. The following two years: Ali comes into my life. She is horribly allergic to my family's cat, Bullseye. Hijinks ensue. (Well, replace the word 'hijinks' with 'asthma' and the word 'ensue' with 'is rampant'.)

Finally, we come to this year.

Having learned our lesson with the cat, we stay at a neighbor's house. I get to see a friend I grew up with, whom I haven't seen since at least high school. In our free time Ali and I read books we took out from the local library here in Silver Spring. No hijinks ensue whatsoever. Until yesterday. Finally, yesterday, we get some Pesah fun. Ali gets a stomach virus, and after putting on my favorite sweatshirt because she's freezing, and assuring me that she is not going to vomit on it, she does just that. Fun! Yay! It's ok, though. Ali's much better now, B"H, and thanks for asking.

Anyway, I hope you had a great holiday.

Thanks to Shalom Silbermintz for teaching me to love the phrase 'hijinks ensue'.